Youth aging out of residential care in Israel: Readiness for independent living and need for help
Youth leaving state care are a vulnerable group. It is important to examine their status and needs before they leave care, so that policies and practices are designed to address their needs. The aim of this study is to assess readiness for independent living of youth on the verge of leaving residential care in Israel, and to identify the life domains in which they need further help. Further, the study examines personal and interpersonal resources that may predict levels of readiness and needs before leaving care.
The study is based on an analysis of staff structured reports on all youths in welfare residential care in Israel who were on the verge of leaving care (N = 197). The report assessed background characteristics, family social support available to the child, readiness for independent living, and needs in multiple areas.
We found low readiness for independent living and that the young people greatly need help, particularly those with lower educational achievements. Social support resources were positively associated with readiness and negatively with levels of need. It is therefore, necessary to plan carefully the preparation of youth for leaving care. The plan should also include a safety net to help care leavers cope with the new challenges of independent living after leaving care.